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JazzTimes 10: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

In honor of Bu’s 100th birthday, here are 10 of his best performances

4. “Along Came Betty” (Moanin’; Blue Note, 1958)

Moanin’ is easily the most famous album in Art Blakey’s long career, with Bobby Timmons’ title track and Benny Golson’s “Blues March” (the band’s unofficial theme song) its most famous moments. “Along Came Betty,” the record’s other Golson standard (for good reason—how catchy is it?), is perhaps even more interesting. Its gentle midtempo is certainly something less associated with Blakey and the Messengers. Yet the band grooves with the same commitment here as on any of their harder-hitting pieces. Blakey and Timmons, in particular, show mastery of seasoning the tune to taste. The pianist also joins Lee Morgan and Golson in delivering what have to stand among the best solos of each musician’s recording career.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.